American Threats to the Free Market

May 8th is international free trade day.

I am going to give you 4 examples of films based on the reality that proves that the USA is not a free market.

  

Food, Inc. (2008)

Nominated for best documentary feature at the Oscars and for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary by Directors’ Guild of America, this brilliant production is the best on alimentation and food.

Although a lot of the issues presented are rather specific to the US, the system is the same or similar in other countries as well. Although in some countries in Europe (such as Belgium, Italy, Hungary), there are very strict regulations for labeling food and what is allowed for aliments to contain, in other countries, it is not, and there is a very strong lobby from the corporations to discard it.

If you will watch it not as a documentary about a situation in the US, but about a mechanism that is transforming worldwide agriculture, you will discover it is a global problem, which sooner or later will start knocking on your door. The way in which people consume food has changed so radically, that in order to satisfy in the most profitable manner the consumers’ desires, the companies have dropped all safety standards and have moved them so far beyond conceivable, that it might shock you to find out how the food you eat is being produced.

If you want to live, you cannot afford not to care about what you eat. Anything less than gaining awareness means disease or death, for you and all your loved ones. Watching this might be the most important decision you have taken in a while. This up-to-date take on such a major issue is approached with maximum professionalism and with a budget which helps get the message across in a creative design.

A must-see. A masterpiece. My rating: 8 / 10.   

  

Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price (2005)

MV5BMjAyMjYzNjYxN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDE2ODQzMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR9,0,214,317_This is another masterpiece of an American documentary that I totally recommend. If you just substitute “Wal-Mart” with “Carrefour”, “Auchan” or other international retailers, you will have a clear picture of the effects that the exploitation of small communities has on the local small businesses. The entrepreneurs that sell all kinds of different merchandise go bankrupt when the retailers come into the city because it offers low prices for buyers, but also at the expense of their own employees being humiliated and financially destroyed, not being able to benefit from decent social services insurance.

This is another example of capitalism gone wild, especially when the business model is expanded in other countries outside the U.S., where the company can get substantial benefits compared to the American market.

Its title is also especially interesting, as it gets into evidence the economic and human difference between cost and price.

I invite you to watch the trailer, the Roger Ebert endorsement of the film on TV, and the full movie (low resolution) on YouTube. If you want it in full resolution, I suggest you order it from Amazon.

Official trailer

Roger Ebert’s endorsement of the film

  

Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)

Nominated at the Emmy awards for best picture, best screenplay, best editing, best sound mixing, and best casting. You could call it “The Social Network”‘s little brother. It is the dramatized version of the historical development, contracts, backstabbing, and deals of how personal computers and Windows came to power. The main characters in the film are Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. More accurate than “The Social Network” and more true to reality, the production portrays the seed of a war that is still going on. Watching this, you will understand how things evolved. An ironic depiction of capitalist greed (which went unpunished) and the American Dream, it is a must-see for all those who wish to earn money through the internet, and putting things into perspective you could actually call it a historical movie. Find out how IT empires were built!

I have to recognize although I hate the morals of the main characters,the actors very effectively portrayed the toughness of the American entrepreneur. Used with discent, it is a great and inspiring power. 

My rating: 7 / 10 (Very good movie)  

 

  

The Corporation (2003)

This Canadian documentary is a great watch especially for the students or graduates of economic and communication sciences. A brave approach, this logical demonstration of the idea that any corporation, as a concept, is pathologic and has a psychopathic profile would have made me think twice before choosing my line of work.

I would have chosen the same thing, but with more insight and fewer expectations. Far from the intention of demonizing corporations without argumentation, this is a very rigorous approach on the topic of transnational corporations’ power worldwide, which started in the USA.

The model for extending a corporation as a business model is presented as cancer to modern society. This is not one of those hopeful documentaries, although in the end there is the hope to bring the power back to the consumers. It is yet not too late. We do not have a “Rollerball” society.

The picture has won the Special Jury Award at the  Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival (2003), The Genesis Award for best documentary (2005), The Genie Award for best documentary (2005), the audience award in the “World Cinema – Documentary” section at the International Sundance Independent Film Festival (2004) and at the Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival (2004) and “The Most Popular Canadian film” at Vancouver International Film Festival (2004). So prepare yourself to be awarded!

My rating: 7 / 10 (great documentary)

The trailer

And here is the documentary full feature

  

Marcus Victor Grant

Copyright text © Marcus Victor Grant 2011-present. Updated for publishing in 2021. Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant, all rights reserved.

The materials on this blog are subject to this disclaimer.

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